Brian Nevison will be presenting a day of workshops on SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2024 at Practice Human in NYC. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND SIGN UP
Brian Nevison is a playful person: Innately and intentionally. Professionally, he’s a personal trainer, strength & conditioning coach, and mobility specialist. He loves games and sports of all kinds—he played many growing up and still plays Ultimate Frisbee competitively. He tries to bring a sense of joy, play, and wonder to everything he does.
He has a BS in Kinesiology from Penn State and has been working as a trainer/coach for 13 years. In that time, he’s come to understand that genuine, uninhibited self-expression is immensely powerful. He uses systems learned from Functional Anatomy Seminars (FRC, Kinstretch) and tries to blend scientifically sound principles with an empathetic, holistic approach to health and fitness.
What’s covered in this episode?
- How hip and low back pain can be connected.
- What are some movement philosophies that can address hip and low back pain?
- How mobility training can increase your body’s resilience and longevity with athletic edevours.
- Active recovery strategies for field athletes.
- How getting an outside perspective can help you navigate your own symptoms and sensations.
- How to play hard for the longterm with mobility training.
- How to work directly with Brian Nevison.
Caitlin: Welcome back to the Practice Human Podcast, everyone. I am your host, Caitlin Casella. Before we get into my interview with Brian Nevison, I want to share a personal story about my own right hip and low back pain. as many of you know, if you’ve been following my work, and listening to my podcast for a while.
My background is in yoga. I was a full time yoga teacher for about 14 years before making the transition to go back to school for physical therapy and become a physical therapist. During that time in my yoga asana practice, I had persistent pain in my right hip. And sometimes that would spread into the right side of my low back.
One thing that many of us practitioners who treat persistent hip and low back pain know is that there tends to be rather diffuse pain in this area or, uncomfortable sensations, feelings of Ickiness and tightness and stiffness or vulnerability in this area that can be, diffuse. When I say diffuse, the image that I like to use is like when you put a teabag into hot water, the color of that tea kind of spreads throughout that container.
Much of the time, hip pain is accompanied with a little bit of low back pain or a little bit of, nonspecific low back pain will also present with some kind of hard, hard to differentiate, hard to localize, hard to make sense of sensation that permeates other nearby body regions. So during this time in my practice and in my body, I was having a lot of pain around my right hip.
my outer hip, my greater trochanter, which is the knob on the outer upper thigh bone, into the groin and hip flexor region. Sometimes on the right side, sometimes felt like it was kind of deep in the groin and abdomen. pain in the right side of my low back and around my right SI joint region, and things that kind of referred from my low back down into my glutes.
So, what I’m describing here is very common. I see this all the time in the clinic for people dealing with hip and low back stuff. I’m saying stuff in air quotes because, again, sometimes it can be difficult to attribute any of that to any specific, mechanical, problem or mechanical deficiency. And it, it really just results in a whole lot of sensitivity and discomfort.
And when I was experiencing this pain way back when I was practicing yoga, it resolved pretty well, pretty completely for a period of time when I initiated strength training, when I started to put a little bit more force. Through those tissues where I was experiencing discomfort and through adaptation, right, the body’s ability to adapt to forces and become more tolerant of those forces, a lot of that sensitivity went away.
I started to feel more coordinated, confident, and comfortable. on that hip, walking, doing strength work, doing yoga asana, all of those things really improve. Another place, interestingly, another place where I saw improvement and gathered a lot of tools for self assessment and self treatment was when I attended the preliminary weekend training in functional range conditioning.
So this is a system that, it’s a pretty broad system. So I don’t want to smash it down into something too small. But one of the things that it’s known for is mobility, active mobility work. So it’s a way that someone, me in this situation, as I was kind of still continuing to assess and treat my right hip and low back region, someone can really fine tune the amount of force.
that they’re working with in various positions and ranges of motion, and I’ve found it to be a potent tool for reestablishing confidence with movement, confidence with sensations of force going through a body region that might feel vulnerable, and also just restoring confidence in one’s own body. own ability to assess and treat oneself, right?
Having really empowering tools, for the long term self treatment tools. And by putting a little bit more active range of motion forces through my hip, I was able to desensitize the body region and I was, it was like this window or kind of gateway for me to then build back towards more intense and more robust exercise and activity and movement.
options. So that was a big, big piece of my recovery there as well. So the strength element and the functional range conditioning work that I learned through this training, I was feeling really pretty good and didn’t notice much going on at all around my right hip and low back region. But one thing that I find tremendously interesting about, pain that can kind of lie dormant for a while and then pop back up is that often there’s like, a certain threshold, baseline kind of threshold that we can operate in, in our daily activities and in just kind of our general level of fitness and exercise without provoking those symptoms, right?
So it’s like if all of my daily activities and exercise are below a certain threshold, I’m going to be okay and I’m not going to notice that maybe there’s some kind of underlying inefficiency or decreased capacity for tolerating force in that area. Right? But if I have an exceptional day in my daily activities, say, or I participate in some kind of workout or some kind of training that is new stimulus to my body, it could potentially push some of those force requirements of my body above that threshold, and that’s when I’m going to have flare up of hip pain.
So I started running in the late summer of 2022, about a year and a half, almost two years ago, and I was doing pretty well, right? I was kind of conservatively increasing my running volume, taking it pretty easy, just starting to build a baseline of tolerance for running, and everything was fine.
And then I attended that fall, 2022, I attended a sprinting continuing education course, a running mechanics course that involves a lot of sprint training. It was a wonderful course. I learned a lot. I learned a lot of tools I still use and still implement with my patients and in my teaching and in my own personal training.
However, during that course, it was a little bit too much too soon, right? We packed a lot into the weekend. We were working on some kind of higher force output drills with sprint training and accelerations over short distances. So even though those accelerations were done at just kind of an easy to moderate intensity, too much all at once packed into one weekend and my right hip flared up, like flared up a lot, and reminded me, oh, right, there’s something still going on there, right?
And, and injuries. Injuries can happen, and if I was to very simply define injury, a way to define injury is when the force that’s placed on certain tissues, forces in sudden increases in volume, right, doing Lots of something or sudden increases in intensity doing just a higher level, higher resistance or higher intensity exercise or a little bit of both.
When those forces in our exercise exceed that tissue’s capacity to handle those forces, that’s when An injury happens, right? So we have this threshold and anything below it will be fine. Anything that spikes above it, we might have a flare up or some kind of discomfort and something that we have to recover from and heal from, which the body does tremendously well, right?
So it’s, it’s like, it’s not the end of the world. Injuries can happen. We recover. We adapt. We could come out of them. Stronger, we can come out of that with more useful information about what we need to dose into our training to get stronger, to increase our capacity to build, basically to build a reserve above that previous threshold so that we can then train harder, do more, work at a higher level without having a flare up, right?
So, that sprinting course that I took really illuminated to me in real life how this can happen. I did recover from it, right? It’s not the end of the world. I rested. It recovered. The body did its wonderful thing that the body does and healed, right? But I was still kind of aware that this body region for me needs attention.
It needs a little bit more ongoing attention, maybe at all times. Maybe even during the times when I’m feeling really good, right, just to keep up that reserve in capacity for when I do have kind of an exceptional day, a day of high activity demand or, or a special novel kind of workout like I did at that continuing end course.
So this isn’t really a no pain, no gain mentality. I do want to emphasize that. We have to, to give our body stimulus that is strong enough that they promote adaptation, right? So we have to be working close to an edge to promote adaptation, to send a strong enough signal to the body so the body is like, ah.
Oh, okay. I get it. So this is what we’re doing now. And then starts to adapt to tolerate those new forces, to handle those forces better. So back to my little story about my hip flare up, everything was feeling good after I recovered from that weekend. I started dosing, deliberately dosing into my training, acceleration repeats, sprint drills.
I gradually increased my running volume. My strength workouts were feeling great. All things were feeling really, really good. from fall of 2022 until I got to just this past November, December, fall of 2023. Right. My right hip’s like, hello, still, still here. Okay. And I was running, I was increasing my running just a little bit.
I was running a little bit faster. I was running with a run club. It was pushing me a little bit harder. And again, I just kind of hit one of those thresholds where I went a little bit above. What this region of my body was prepared to tolerate, and I had another flare up of right hip pain. I, this time, consulted with a friend and colleague, fantastic clinician, physical therapist, Joe Lovacca, here in New York City.
if you don’t know him, he’s strengthinmotionpt, strengthinmotionpt on Instagram. And, hi Joe, if you’re listening, thank you so much for helping me with my hip. Joe is totally patient centered care, physical therapist, totally research based. All up in the pain science. And Joe, the reason I’m bringing up my story about seeing Joe for PT is Joe, like Brian, my guest on the podcast today, has a background in functional anatomy seminars, which is like the umbrella system that functional range conditioning and kin stretch fall under.
So, this brought me back, kind of full circle, to one of the things that helped me in the first place. One of the things that maybe I could have been keeping up with over all of this time, but hey, pandemic, PT school, life gets busy, I was not attending to my hip on those, in those times that I was feeling good, where I could have been maybe implementing some of these tools from functional range conditioning.
I went to Joe because I was, you know, therapists need therapists. I needed an outside perspective. I was just a little bit too close to it, too much in my head. One thing we know about persistent and recurrent pain conditions is I had become a poor judge of my own sensations in my body and what those sensations meant, right?
I was just too close to it. I needed an outside perspective from a clinician. Joe was somebody who could give me a thorough hip screen and give me some new strategies, just some novel input for my body. And he really got me back on track with some of the work that I had previously experienced in this functional range conditioning weekend.
Just really potent self treatment. tools, things that I could do daily or two to three times a week to activate some of these sensitive tissues, to build confidence again in that body region, and then to kind of open up again this window of confidence so that I could start training a little bit heavier again and, and not have these flare up.
So I’m telling this story. Really, because Brian Neveson, my guest today on the podcast, will be here in New York City teaching Workshops at Practice Human on Saturday, March 2nd. Brian is an expert coach. He helps athletes stay in the game by using the same strategies that got me back to feeling my best.
So, I was, I was actually just having a little chat with a colleague today, a massage therapist, and, and we were talking about how, oh, wouldn’t it be nice if most of our patients came to see us when we’re feeling, when they’re feeling good. Right? Oftentimes for physical therapy and sometimes in the case of going for body work, like massage, people show up in our offices when they are the most flared up, most acutely painful.
And that’s really the time that we can do the, the less. It’s the least amount of work with them, right? I mean, maybe we can do things to calm symptoms down in the moment, help them get back to activity sooner, help them bounce back a little bit quicker, but ultimately, ideally, we want to be working on some of these strategies.
while we’re feeling our best so that we can do really more substantive work to promote longevity, sustainability in our more robust activities. So that’s kind of exactly what Brian Nevison is going to be presenting when he comes to Practice Human on March 2nd, is mobility. assessment and mobility training strategies and pain management for athletes specifically centered around the hip and the low back.
The first workshop earlier in the day is going to focus on mobility assessment and training and pain management. And then in the afternoon, Brian is going to talk about how to layer on hip strength and power on top of that improved function for sports and more robust athletic endeavors. Brian Nevison is a very playful person, both innate and intentional.
Professionally, he’s a personal trainer, a strength and conditioning coach, and a mobility specialist. He loves games and sports of all kinds. He’s played many growing up and still plays ultimate frisbee competitively. He tries to bring a sense of joy, play, and wonder to everything he does. Brian has a B. S.
in kinesiology from Penn State and has been working as a trainer and coach for 13 years. In that time, He’s come to understand that genuine uninhibited self expression is immensely powerful. I couldn’t agree more. He uses systems learned from functional anatomy seminars, which I was describing earlier.
That’s functional range conditioning and can stretch and tries to blend scientifically sound principles with an empathetic, holistic approach to health and fitness. Again, Brian will be here on Saturday, March 2nd. In person at Practice Human in New York City, we’re also exploring potentially adding an online option for this course.
So if you are listening to this episode and you would like to attend live online or have replay videos to watch at your own pace later if you cannot attend at those times online, let us know if there’s enough interest we will open up an online component for this course. So you can let me know by emailing me at hello.
at practice human dot com. You can always DM me on instagram @practicehumanat. You can also find brian on instagram at b underscore neveson. We are very responsive and approachable in instagram dms and reply to our messages. So please let us know if an online component would be of interest to you.
What that also does is it opens up the opportunity for folks attending. in person, to have replay videos to then revisit on your own afterwards to revisit and integrate some of that material after the training, which I know a lot of folks really appreciate having that available. So let us know if you’re interested in the online component.
There is an early registration deadline for Brian’s workshop, so I want to point that out now. If you register before Friday. February 23rd can save a little bit of money on your registration. And this is a full day of workshops on a Saturday. It’s a morning session from 9am to 11. 30am. We’ll take a break for lunch and come back for an afternoon session from 1 to 3.
30pm. You’re going to come away with a ton of great tools for self assessment and self treatment in the hip and low back area. If you are an athlete, if you like to play hard, if you want to. Play hard for the long term if you want to stay in the game so that you can play the game. The strategies that Brian’s going to share for the hip and low back are just totally non-negotiable things that you should really be working into your training.
So hit us up if you want an online component. Check out the registration page for the workshop. You can find it at practicehuman. com slash events and find Brian’s event there. We will also be putting links and all of that good stuff up in our Instagram bios. So I hope to see you there and I hope you can really benefit.
I know you will benefit, but I hope you can take this opportunity to learn with Brian. He’s just such a phenomenal coach and super, super inspiring person. So I hope you enjoy it. My interview with Brian. I will talk to you later.
Hi Brian. It’s good to talk to you again.
Brian: Hi Caitlin. I’m excited to be back here.
Caitlin: Yeah. I, I just wanted to let you know that the last time you were on the podcast, when we talked about balancing discipline and play, I got. So much great feedback from that episode. A lot of people reached out and said they loved it.
It was a popular episode. I’m excited to have you back again to talk a little bit more about training and performance and longevity with training. And, and I’m super thrilled that you’re going to be here on March 2nd to teach in person at Practice Human in New York City. Yeah,
Brian: Yeah, I cannot wait for that.
I’m really excited. I’m glad people like the play episode. I’m clearly passionate about that, but I’m so excited to be in person with you, delivering this.
Caitlin: Yeah, I have followed you on social media, I think probably for about, I would say probably about five years, maybe since 2018, 2019, something like that.
And, when I opened my practice here in New York, I always knew I wanted to bring in a lot of educators, but it’s also kind of selfish for me, it’s really great to connect with people in person. So, especially, you know, coming off of the pandemic and, and I think we can get a little bit isolated at times in our.
in our practices with our clients and sometimes we don’t have as much opportunity to kind of see other coaches and trainers and teachers and clinicians in person. So I’m really excited for that too.
Brian: Me too. Yeah. And I agree with you. It’s, it’s, it’s different. And, It’s really refreshing to be in person with, with different people.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Well, I’m excited to have you and I’m excited for the material that you’re bringing here. I thought we might start with you catching up with our listeners if they don’t know your work, catching them up on your training background or your background with athletic pursuits and then what brought you to.
functional range conditioning and kin stretch and the type of coaching and training that you’re doing. but also I’m kind of curious about how, like when you started studying functional range conditioning and incorporating kin stretch, and I feel like you really just like to own that and innovate in so many really amazing ways with what you share.
I’m just kind of curious how you are personally for you. incorporating that work into your own body changes things as an athlete? Yeah,
Brian: That’s a great question. I love to talk about that. so I was always pretty fast twitch, you know, fast, explosive, you know, I could, I could jump pretty high and I actually got into training between my sixth and seventh grade year with a family friend.
So I had some experience in the weight room. I used to do push ups before bed as often as I could every night, which apparently is not a terribly common thing for like fifth or sixth graders to do. But so, but I enjoyed it. So I played football in high school. That was, I wanted to go to the NFL, five foot, 635 pounds.
My senior year, it wasn’t going to happen, but I also ran track. I got into ultimate Frisbee, which is what I play now. And it was always, I was always happy to work hard. That was always like something I was willing to do. Just push my own limits more than anyone else could push them. And I just kind of assumed, it’s like you’re sort of told, like, you do these lifts, you lift heavy, you work hard, and that’s how you get ahead.
and that, I found that not to be the case. So, by the time I was in college, I’m dealing with recurring pain, different injuries, shoulder, I had tears in my shoulder, torn hip labrum Achilles issues, and I learned more. This kind of pushed me so I used to read articles on T Nation, and I found Eric Cressy, and I read everything I could, and implemented it, and experimented.
I got a degree in kinesiology, and I became a trainer, and I was working 50 to 60 sessions a week. learning everything I could. So I learned a lot and I did all this stuff the industry said to do to feel good, function well. and it didn’t work for me. You know, it’s like, you start to grow a little bit and like, Oh, this is better than what I used to do.
But, there was always something I was like, this isn’t right. You know, and I had clients. I worked with some youth athletes. I also worked with a lot of people between like 40 and 75 years old. And some of the stuff that we’re told to do to improve mobility, reduce pain, et cetera. It worked with some people because their baseline was low enough.
But at some point it’s like, well, this isn’t working. So where do we go from here? And that’s where I saw a video from Andreo Spina who founded functional range conditioning and can stretch. and it just spoke to me. It was, the crux of it was talking about cell cellular turnover and how.
You know, in 10 years, cellularly speaking, you’re like almost a totally different person. so the things that we do help to influence what actually happens in our body and the adaptations we make. And that was so powerful and hopeful, I was like, I gotta find how to learn this stuff. I just kind of impulsively Went on the website, I saw they had a thing in New Jersey, a workshop or seminar, and I signed up.
Mm hmm. So that was how I got into it. Cool. Yeah.
Caitlin: Cool. Yeah. It’s interesting what you said about how certain things work for some people, like if their baseline is already really low, and I can imagine with athletes that push themselves really hard, how that, yeah, like they’re, they’re just gonna hit a ceiling with kind of the status quo.
And, like what I have found with functional range conditioning and kin stretch work, it sends a much stronger signal to the system than a lot of other types like corrective exercises or PT type exercises and stretches and stuff. I mean, it’s like it’s higher intensity work for people who kind of are at a level that they need.
Brian: Yeah. And, and I think what’s so powerful about it is as you come to understand the system, it’s very scalable. Right. Yeah. So, the principles, that’s what I found is like, wow, I need, my eyes were totally open to this paradigm shift and I started implementing it. and the big light bulb moment, Dre, Andrea Ospina talks about, you know, you, your prerequisites in your joints help you.
move better. So you start there. and I was like, okay, you know, I’m, I’m going to do this stuff. I’m going to work on my ankle and hip mobility. And I really pushed for three or four months. And I remember doing this like a kind of duck walk thing, in a warmup and I went backwards and I just accidentally fell into a perfect pistol squat.
and this is something I had worked for years on, you know, it never felt good and I hadn’t practiced it in months. But having a better foundation just allowed me to do it, even though I hadn’t practiced. And that was like, okay, this stuff, I knew it was good, but. It’s really good.
Caitlin: Yeah. So it’s scalable, but then can take you to a place where you’re kind of functioning more efficiently within higher level skills or higher level type of mobility and strength movements like a pistol squat.
Brian: That’s, that’s the cool part. I, yes, I still, I work with people who are over 70 and I had, a guy recently retired, but he was a professional basketball player in Europe and I use the same principles. It is just, you can modify the intensity or the volume of trading using, you know, various isometrics or types of cars.
So yeah, this was like the first thing that happened. As I learned more, I could actually apply it to everyone, and, and still make progress with them.
Caitlin: Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that a lot too from PT colleagues that I’ve encountered over the years who have a background in having taken like the foundational weekend, the functional range conditioning.
mobility specialist weekend or explored a little bit within concepts classes here in New York City, so many of them have reported to me that it has given them a tremendous like breadth of tools for working with all kinds of patients in the outpatient clinic, because it is so scalable can be applied to kind of anyone at any level.
So I’ve definitely heard testimony to that from clinicians also like in PT clinics.
Brian: That’s awesome. Whenever I’ve gone to a bunch of the seminars and they’ve had these big summits as well, and it’s cool to get to meet so many people who are implementing this stuff and sharing how it’s changed them and the way that they treat.
and yeah, what’s really, I just lost my train of thought for a moment. But, what I found was suddenly I felt better and everything I wanted to do, I could do better than I could previously. I didn’t have this internal resistance. and it took like, especially this 2016 is when I really got into it.
It took a while to convince people to redirect some of their effort and energy into this type of training versus like a just passive stretching, which like there’s certainly a time and place, but okay, I’m going to either foam roll or passive stretch or lift heavy. Those are the things I do.
so it’s hard to convince people, particularly if they’re athletes. To channel energy into something else and have faith that like this is actually gonna this is lower hanging fruit
Caitlin: for you. Yeah Yeah, that’s always a challenge with with the athletes that I treat in my clinic It’s such a challenge to get somebody to like see a way to like it kind of Might feel like giving up time to the thing they’re really are working on or really love to like put time into something else, but Everybody could use a little variety in cross training or active recovery and all of these other, other kind of modalities that could be sprinkled in.
And, that’s a tough one. That’s a tough one for me too, in conversation with some of my patients. Like runners who like, I’m like, we should start some strength training and they’re like, but all the time I spend running, I have to give up some of that time to strength train or getting, yeah, or getting somebody who trains strength to kind of get down on the ground and spend 20 minutes with their joints, like with mobility.
It’s, yeah, it’s, that’s just kind of a tough one. I get it.
Brian: Yeah. Yeah. It’s sometimes a hard sell. I think like at least right now, so I’m 36. Using this stuff, my athleticism, like my resilience, or I should say, my ability to play Frisbee for a full tournament, full season, and feel awesome, maybe a little lower, but my overall explosiveness and athleticism is pretty much what it was when I was 22.
And I think that’s a lot because of this training. Yeah, and so for now I have the benefit of showing that athleticism to get some buy in. So it makes the buy-in a little easier. You know at some point I may not but that’s a good motivation to keep training But it is tough. For example, I had a client yesterday saying I should really track and quantify how much of everything I do so for example I probably spend about three times the time and energy doing FRC and joint focused training, compared to strength training, like lifting and yet my strength and muscle mass is very similar.
I feel better. My performance is better. So it, but again, it’s hard for people who haven’t experienced it. It’s very hard to be like, you want to cut my lifting time in half, until they start to feel the differences.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. And maybe it’s just about finding ways to make that lifting time more efficient or just go after kind of the key things that, you know, like, I think a lot of people spend a lot of time in the gym lifting and maybe you don’t need to spend as much time or as high reps or, you know, or as, as many times in the week to get the same results when it comes to strength training.
So yeah, I think there’s some, some lessons in there too that we can impart onto our clients.
Brian: Yes. Oh, I totally agree. And it’s, it’s funny. So I’m working, in the afternoons at a high school weight room and you get some extremes, like kids just want to come in and bench press or, you know, what do you bench dude?
Like, that’s like the, the thing. That’s just like how people say hi. And they just want to lift, they want to lift heavy. And then they’re like, coach Nebby, like, why am I slow? Like. well, when was the last time you ran? or, or, you know, worked on hip mobility. So, or they’re doing, you know, you know, one kid was in there doing, like 20 sets of bench related stuff, flat barbell bench, bench, overhead press.
And we’re like, and it’s like, Oh, I don’t have time to do the mobility. It’s like, you just spent two and a half hours bench pressing. doing hundreds of reps. Right. At some point, after like the first couple sets, severely diminishing returns, you know, if you’re thinking like, what’s the effective dose here?
You hit it. Now you can work on other
Caitlin: stuff. Right. Right. Right. I think, yeah, exactly. You put that so well. That’s a really key lesson. And I really appreciate that they call you Coach Nevi. . .
Brian: Yeah. Yeah. A lot of them call it, just say Nevi. I don’t, I don’t make them say coach, but some of them do.
Caitlin: I like it. cool. Thanks for sharing all that. I think that that gives kind of a good, good background on, on you and what, how you implement this stuff for yourself, but also for your clients. I’m gonna go a little more specific now. Because the workshops you’re going to teach here in March will focus on the hip and low back specifically for athletes.
I know here in the PT clinic, or any outpatient PT clinic, just kind of the, the demographics of most of the patients that come through are coming for low back pain, right? It’s like the most common thing that we see as physical therapists in the outpatient clinic. I’m wondering for you in the athletic populations that you serve, do you see this kind of frequency of hip and low back being a problem area for your clients or for your athletes?
Do you see it specifically with, for example, Ultimate Frisbee athletes, strength athletes? and I think we can also talk a little bit about how So the hip and low back are in relationship, right, with in terms of mobility or kind of kinetic chain, one, you know, one piece picking up the next when it comes to mobility.
I see a lot of, of referred pain, right? So like someone with hip pain will also have low back pain or with low back pain it’ll refer into the hip and groin. Um. So in terms of just pain and sensitivity in this body region, I think they’re really intimately connected. So, I would love to hear some of your thoughts on just kind of how you see hip and low back pain show up with your population, and some of the connections you’ve made in terms of this, mobility training.
Brian: I love, I love this topic. and really I see, I see hip and low back pain with most of the athletes, but in particular, definitely the, you know, the field athletes who are, you know, it’s a lot of pounding, you know, hard running, cutting, strength athletes who are lifting heavier weights, you know, the football players who are doing both.
you know, they’re, they’re told to lift super heavy weights at the expense of everything else. and then they’re out in the field getting hit, you know, some other athletes like, you know, maybe swimmers, not as much from what I see, track athletes definitely. so, I see it in a lot of athletes and I’m often surprised at how poor their mobility is.
so, and, you know, I work with a lot of ultimate athletes as well. Ultimate frisbee. So I see it there a lot. You know, there’s a lot of everything there you have in endurance factors. Then you have sprinting, change of direction, jumping a lot of rotational stuff with the throwing. but what I often start with with people is, is looking at some hip mobility, have them do some rotational work, some cars, see how that looks.
And as I’m sure you’ve seen, you know, if the hip doesn’t move well, once it stops, the pelvis is going to move and that’s going to force the spine to move. And so, and you can see this and if people are listening to this, like if you’re sitting and you try to rotate your hip, like you rotate so that your ankle goes out, internal rotation.
For a lot of people, once they start moving like 10, 15 degrees, that hip on that side is going to try to hike up. and so this is another communication thing that can be tough for people where they might come in with back pain, or back stiffness. and that very well may be part of the issue, but oftentimes it’s coming from a lack of hip mobility.
especially what I, what I might do, like I usually start people with cars and some other assessments. which we’ll do in the workshop and I’ll look at how well does your spine move at each segment? How does that feel? Do you have some strength there? And how do your hips move? And if, if the hips are way worse, or the spine is way worse, then we have a better idea of where to start.
but I have, I have an example of, a strength athlete. He does powerlifting meets. And so this is, he’s on one extreme, had done no mobility work for years, been lifting extremely heavy weights, and he was having pretty severe back pain and referred pain. Down his leg and you know, they medically he went in and like they only looked at his back No one touched his hips and I assessed it and he has almost no internal rotation at all of his hip His cars like if I have them do a big hip rotation It’s like pulling teeth You know, it’s like a third of the range that I have.
So I’m like, you very well probably have some stuff going on with your back and we’re going to address that. But if we don’t address the hips, that’s probably not going to help as much as it could.
Caitlin: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I see it a lot with just kind of assessing gait. Not just runners, but people who walk, just anybody who walks, you know, like how crucial all of those pieces are in terms of getting, getting the movement through the kinetic chain with regards to hip rotation and pelvic motions and how that affects the low back.
It’s a really, really big deal just with every step we take in our daily lives too.
Brian: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s something that, you know, I talked about athletes, but you know, I still have a number of clients that, that are not, wouldn’t describe themselves as athletes. and incidents of back pain and hip pain are pretty much the same.
So a lot of it has to do with, you know, how their body moves and, like I’ll see people walking. I’m sure you, you know, you can’t help but notice people’s gait patterns, et cetera. And like, you’ll see either asymmetrical movement of the pelvis or. Like a lot of rotation when they walk or sometimes even more jarring is like no rotation.
Like they’re walking and nothing’s moving. Yeah. it’s like where is that force going?
Caitlin: Right. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely yeah, I think this is just such an interesting body region. It’s something that’s always fascinated me because of how interconnected everything is between the hip and pelvis and low back and I think it can get sometimes Overwhelming for, I’m going to kind of speak from the context of like trainers, coaches, teachers, clinicians can be, can become kind of an overwhelming body region.
because of how interconnected everything is and how interconnected, like, symptoms can be. But I think there’s also ways to really simplify things. And some of these mobility principles that I’ve learned through FRC and through Kinstretch, I think simplify it in a way that’s like strategies that could serve kind of anyone.
with anything going on, and probably things will get better, right? Not that it’s like a one size fits all, but sometimes I do talk about how like, when we treat a person, we’re treating the person, but when it comes to exercise, it, it kind of can be a one size fits all, because so many exercise, types of exercise stimulus can serve A broad population, right, and, and help them, I think.
Brian: I, I totally agree. And that’s something I’ve talked about. I have this, this online performance program that I get some great questions in and I try to, similar to our workshop, I’ll try to deliver some actionable principles that you can use to guide some of what you do. And one of the big ideas is some of the more popular strength exercises.
They’re gonna have a different stimulus for different people and they’re not always best for everyone. So like a back squat, or a deadlift. You can certainly modify them, but people say like, oh, a barbell deadlift is the best exercise or, whatever. Those aren’t one size fits all, though you can apply them to many people.
But hip cars, for example. If you’re taking your own personal hip, as opposed to someone else’s, and you’re taking it through the largest range of motion that you can, that’s, that’s, you’re doing the same exercise as this person next to you. But it’s specific to you because it’s your hip. And I think that’s the cool part is you’re getting the stimulus you need.
and while you’re doing that, you’re also getting an assessment. So, and you, you mentioned like, assessing and so it’s neat to be able to have some objective, feedback where if I tell someone, hey, if you improve your spine segmentation, you know, you see that it rounds more during the cat cow or droops more.
and it’s well distributed and you see better hip rotation over time, I bet you’ll feel better. I can’t, pain is very complicated, but, and, and, actually Andrea Spina talks about how it’s not a reliable metric of improvement. It’s important. It’s important to improve it because that’s what people want to get out of pain.
But for three weeks I’m working on my hip internal rotation and I’m doing all the right stuff that will get me there, but I don’t feel any better. It doesn’t mean it’s not doing something like if I can, if I can look and go, Oh, you know what? My hip moves better. That’s at least some objective measure that we all can do.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Yeah. And I think that’s so smart what you said about how when people work with their own hips, it automatically becomes an exercise that is for that individual. And I think it also just does so much to build that, build up that person’s ability to see themselves more clearly or feel their symptoms more clearly.
Or, you know, just create a little bit, maybe more autonomy, right, for like how they Yeah. Sense and talk to their own body, like, and as a daily check in or just to kind of take the temperature of how my body’s feeling today and have that inform how hard I train. I think all of those things are so valuable too, just to like, it’s like a way to help someone.
Understand themselves or see themselves more clearly and then make better choices, in their workouts or in their training because of that. Yes.
Brian: I, you nailed it. Like being able to, like having the autonomy and the connection to yourself, but then being able to use that to make better decisions. Like that’s what it’s all about.
You know, you’re giving yourself the tools to help in the future. It’s not just, oh, do this exercise, plug this exercise in this many times. It’s. Yeah. Here’s the purpose and you can use it how you see fit. and it can give you information. It can help you learn more about your body, the state that you’re in, how ready you might be for a particular activity, et cetera.
Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
Caitlin: Yeah. Absolutely. Brian, when you come here to teach on March 2nd, we are dividing your workshops into two parts. So we’re going to have this, like, a morning workshop and an afternoon workshop. And the way that you suggested that get split up is just start with hip and low back mobility assessment, some mobility training, and, kind of how that leads.
to pain management, or maybe how you could use that as a tool, like we were saying, to understand maybe change your relationship to sensations that you feel, and then in the afternoon, you, you’re planning on sort of layering some hip strength and power on top of that improved function from the morning.
And I was wondering if you could explain just a little bit about how these two types of training support one another, right? Like, some people might say, Oh, that’s kind of a progression, right? For example, get the mobility first and manage the pain first and then start to add more robust or more intense stimulus with power or strength on top of it.
But the way I see it is that those things are always there, like maintenance type stimulus and talking to one another. So I was wondering if you could just share your thoughts on how maybe more higher intensity work and this mobility work or what some people might kind of broadly call active recovery, like how those things fit into a training week or how they support each other for longevity for an athlete.
Brian: I love this. I have so many ideas here. This is wonderful. So, I would say definitely like you can train these things concurrently. and When I first went to my first FRC, Workshop and this was common for other people too if you look at it like, Oh, you need to work on this and work on that. It’s like, I can’t do anything safely.
Well, you know, my ankles and hips can’t handle anything. And so it’s important to take in that information and then go, I’ve been living my life. I’m still alive. so we don’t want to instill fear. You know, just because you don’t have optimal hip mobility doesn’t mean you can’t still lift weights and play a sport.
so I look at, like, you know, using assessment to establish some mobility priorities. and then you can work on them, and then at the same time, you are working on your strength, and your power, and your, maybe, sports skills, if you’re an athlete. but I look at it, so, like, if you have better mobility, you know, and stability in your joints, hips, low back, you have better strength and power potential.
So you have more range of motion and healthy range of motion. You have more access. To all the stuff in your body to create strength and power and you have more draw from to actually distribute the load and the stress. So this was a really big, big thing, that you don’t really think about because you can’t see it so much.
but if I’m cycling or if I’m running and I don’t have a lot of mobility in my hip, it’s going to hit the same tissues over and over and over. It’s going to hit the same spot. If that hip can move more, the movement I’m doing in my sport might look the same, but it’s being distributed over more tissues, and you’re less likely to have some of these, either acute or chronic injuries.
So, that mobility is going to help set the stage for and the foundation for better strength, power, et cetera. but at the same time, strength training as, as I know you’re, you’re a fan of as well, being able to produce force, create tension in your body and control it. is so powerful. And that’s actually a big part of the mobility training.
I do. It’s a big part of FRC. If you have trouble really engaging everything and safely creating lots of tension, you’re actually not going to get as much out of your mobility work. So people, you know, if you’re, if you’re doing some safe, heavy lifting, that’s going to actually give you more resources.
With which to, do your mobility training.
Caitlin: Yeah. Totally, totally. That’s a really good point that you make. Because I sometimes, I sometimes get frustrated and maybe it’s a product of things getting very black and white in the social media space, but I’ve always been bothered by this word prerequisites.
And I feel like prerequisites get used a lot in mobility. So I love the way you speak on this, that it’s like, yeah, you can incorporate load and you can squat and deadlift and you can do exercise. And at the same time, you could be doing mobility training, so it’s not like, it’s not like one thing has to come first before you’re allowed to pick up a weight and squat, right?
Brian: Exactly. Exactly. You can, and again, you can modify, you know, let’s say you don’t have great ankle mobility, you could elevate the heels, you could change your foot position while you’re working specifically on ankle mobility, either on another day or the same day. So that way, you’re not just like Only doing mobility, you’re doing some other stuff.
Caitlin: Well, I think quality strength training is mobility, will help with mobility too, right.
Brian: Right, right? And, and, so, you know, when people start with some of the mobility training, They’re not always ready or they’re not practiced enough to actually get a strength stimulus from that. So, you know, strength training can create all kinds of positive adaptations in our body that can help us feel better and function better.
But, like, for me, if I didn’t pick up a weight the rest of my life, I could stay pretty strong because I can do these, like isometrics and other eccentricities with my joints and create massive amounts of force. And get a similar stimulus, but a lot of people can’t do that. and in fact i’ve i’ve had some clients who do not have much background in strength trading Really struggle to do some of the mobility work that’s higher intensity, you know, they can do kind of moderate intensity cars You know, they could do some isometrics, but it’s hard for them to really push where for me like right if i’m doing some isometric for my hamstring, um It is harder than the hardest, heaviest deadlift I’ve ever done in my life, but, but it takes, you know, it, it took years of strength training to be able to build up that amount of force.
So, yeah, these two things are very much important to each other.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, these are such good points you raised. That’s awesome. Yeah. I mean, and I know I’ve seen some of the research on like, like motor unit recruitment in trained and untrained individuals, right? Like, it just gives us access to recruit more of the muscle that we’ve got when you’ve trained In strength or a higher intensity isn’t, yeah, yeah, something I hadn’t actually considered with, in terms of like, but it makes sense in terms of isometrics, like I see that all the time with my patients when I’m having them do kind of an early stages of rehab, do isometric work and how some people can like really ramp up some intensity there and some people just are not able to, I mean, of course, You could talk about how pain is limiting that or whatever, but, but yeah, that’s, that’s just like a really, really great point that you bring up.
Brian: Thanks. Yeah. It’s something that I hadn’t always thought about. I actually went to the FRC or the functional range systems, internal strength model. And they talked more specifically about strength training and, and they brought that up like using strength training, lifting as a tool to kind of prime some of the mobility work.
Cool. and, and you could do the opposite. So like, I actually did this yesterday. Right? It’s some hard hip isometrics prior to a lower body lift. So I’m kind of priming my nervous system to recruit and then get more out of my, my actual lift. So it can go both directions.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. I think you shared something actually.
I can’t remember if it was one of your videos or maybe, Oh, I’m blanking on the name, but he’s Strong Camps on Instagram. Oh, yes. Maybe you shared something about him that was like just putting some hip rotation isometrics in between your sets of deadlifts. Something like that. Right. Yeah. Yes. Like, yeah.
Brian: Great. I can. Yeah, I think a lot of people like Nothing’s gonna be perfect with programming. I think a lot of people overthink it like, you know, what’s the ideal? Should I do hard isometrics before I lift or during is that gonna make me too tired? I’m not gonna get the most out of my lift. It’s like if you’re not a professional powerlifter, like I don’t think you have to worry too much if you feel good and You know, you’re hitting the main blocks.
You’re pretty good So I actually in my, my smile performance program where I have some athletes in there, I have, like a, I call it a body maintenance day. So it’s a lot of cars and some other movements that you’re doing each week, no matter what you’re kind of working, spending a little more time on your own priorities.
then I also have, like, a couple strength slash power training days that are a little bit more, I guess, conventional. and then, like, a hard mobility day, where it’s like, now we’re actually gonna work to push our, our gains. Yeah. So that’s one nice way to program it. If you’re looking at how to work some of this in, that I’ll, I’ll talk about more of course during the workshop, but where, you know, you’re doing your maintenance, you’re hitting that every week, maybe multiple times a week.
Then you’re doing the day where you’re really trying to push and make mobility gains. And, and, or, you know, reduce pain. and then you have the other strength and power work. So that’s something I didn’t talk about a lot about pain, but that’s where mobility helps fit in a lot with strength training too.
Cause like you said, if you have pain, whether it’s conscious or not, you’re going to be inhibited. So if you can bring that down a little bit, you can get a lot more out of your other training. Yeah.
Caitlin: Yeah, for sure. And I think also this, this mobility work, just kind of talking to the joint in a really clear way or the muscles that surround the joint, you know, with, with activation, with isometrics and things like that, it’s a powerful tool for desensitizing the area.
and, and reducing pain big time.
Brian: Totally. I, I, I bet you, you may have some more, Thoughts on this as well. But sometimes it’s a tough sell to get people who’ve been in pain to produce more force and trust themselves and even trust you to be like, Hey, listen, I, you know, clearly you can move through this range of motion.
You know, again, pain is so complicated, the longer it persists, it’s often less connected to like any actual, physical damage, though it can be. But I have found in myself, I’m more willing to push myself because it’s me. you know, then force a client to do something. I don’t ever want to force anybody.
but I’ve found it’s like, I’ve been having this, this pain. If I ask some of the surrounding tissues to produce force and then produce more force and more progressively, that often lowers the pain. And like you’re saying, maybe the sensitivity. But, it’s tough, that’s another one. That’s a tough sell for people who they have a fear of movement, a fear of.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. So also that’s where that kind of like modulation of intensity comes in, I think, right? It’s like graded exposure, like give them just a little something and then a little more as they can tolerate more and, yeah, it’s, it’s like, it’s really a great way to get, get people to, I mean, I think it’s super key for resolving persistent pain is getting people to trust that they can put force through the area.
Brian: Yes. I agree. And you, and you’re right. The graded exposure is so important. You know, it’s like, okay, can you like, can you push a little bit? Cool. How does that feel? yeah, it’s, it’s a very powerful thing. And when people start thinking that way themselves, it’s great. I love when a client or someone says, Oh, you know, I, I rolled my ankle or I felt this tweak, you know, and then I did a couple of rotations and I did like a gentle isometric and, and, and I feel a lot better.
It’s like, wow, you’re, you’re using the
Caitlin: tools on your own. Self treatment. Yeah. Self assessment, self treatment. That’s like, that’s so great. That’s really, really inspiring when that happens. awesome. It is. Well, I, I want to wrap up today just with a little bit more information for folks that are listening, if they’re interested in studying with you, more information on your workshop.
So you’ll be here on Saturday. March 2nd. It’s here in New York City on West 27th Street. We have played around with the idea of potentially, if there’s interest, making this hybrid so that the workshops are also available online because, I mean, I know you know we’re in the social media space. We have people all over the world that consume our content and some folks might be really into checking this out online as well.
So, for now, we’re We’re having this in person, but if anybody listening is interested in, if you’re like, Oh, I really want to do those workshops, but I can’t get to New York City and you want to do it online, just send us an email at hello at practice human. com. Say hi, let us know, or send me or Brian a DM on Instagram or something.
We just want to collect some interest and see if folks might want to have an online component to this training. And, yeah, and the information is up on the Practice Human website on our events page and registration is open. and, I don’t know, Brian, is there anything else you want to say about, what folks can expect or key takeaways that they’ll have from these workshops?
Brian: Well, I’m, I’m so excited. I, I honestly can’t wait. and they can expect, you know, I, as we talked about principles, I’m going to try to deliver some, you know, some of the principles that have helped me and, and my own clients the most so that you can, it’s not just about our time together. It’s about what you take away from it so you can make better decisions for yourself.
and I also want to encourage you to, you could send us Transcribed by https: otter. ai Any questions ahead of time you might have about, you know, hips, low back and, and training. and, and maybe we’ll have some time to address that as well.
Caitlin: Awesome. Yeah, I love that. I love, like, I mean, that’s the thing.
We gotta, we gotta create this stuff for the people who are gonna consume this stuff, right? Like, that’s what makes it exciting for us, right? As teachers? Like, yeah. So, I agree with that. send, send your questions. Concerns, comments, things that you want to work on, and, yeah, that’s so great, Brian, that you’re willing to weave those into the workshops.
Of course. Mm, and, everybody, you can find Brian at, I think it’s B underscore Nevison on Instagram, right? That’s correct. Underscore, and, is your website Smiles Take You Miles?
I’ll put links in the show notes so people can check out your Instagram, your website. I’ll also put a link in the show notes to the event on the Practice Human website, where you can sign up for the workshops and, it was really great to catch up with you again, Brian. Thanks for coming on.
Brian: Thank you so much for having me.
Always a great time.
Caitlin: Thank you for listening to my interview with Brian Neveson. Again, if you’re interested in studying with him here in New York City in his workshops on Saturday, March 2nd, go to practicehuman. com slash events and just look for his listing on the event page. Again, early registration price is good through Friday, February 23rd, so definitely take a look sooner rather than later so you can save a bit of money there.
Space is limited for in person attendance. We’re going to cap this at about 12 people. So you’re going to be in a small group and you’re going to get a lot of individualized attention for your hip and your low back and how that all relates to whatever sport or athletic endeavors you’re involved in.
Finally, if you learn something here, if you’re enjoying listening to the Practice Human podcast, please leave us a rating and a review. It will help the conversation grow.